Redefining Reimbursements The Paperless Approach

f19As you read this, an employee in some part of the world is struggling to find his bill in order to file his reimbursements and his manager is having a miserable time going through a stack of receipts that are not making it any better for her. Have you been there as well? Then it is time to digitize the process and make it a lot easier.

Over the past few years there have been a lot of buzz about going paperless in offices, home and on-field workplaces. A bunch of reasons might have reached your ears about going paperless; like saving the environment, saving money for your company, hassle free procedures et al. However, another important approach, which remains unnoticed,is increased productivity. Remember the time, you used to keep all your receipts in a shoebox? They were stacked up at one place, but were they organized? They were not in any planned order and finding a specific one at the drop of a hat was a myth. It is time to change that.

Information as we know continues to grow at an astonishing rate, as is the technology that is used to create, store and share it. The clients, customers and public demands easy access to data and in order to achieve that, a collaborative effort is required to distinguish, sort and prioritize information, data and management tools. While Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are taken into account, the digitization of expense management is required for saving time, high productivity and employee satisfaction. In a recent study by University of Michigan, it was found- paperless management enhances customer service, reduces cost, and improves speed, efficiency and productivity among employees in the workplace. In addition to that, government agencies and organizations in Australia are moving towards virtual business processes and digital record management to inculcate the true essence of the era of digitization.

It has also been proven over time that smart phones and cloud based application services can be used to their maximum potential and help to make cumbersome processes easier. With the latest mobile applications, that online automate expense management procedure, it easy to capture receipts or expenditure data. Take a simple snapshot of the receipt, send it for approval and your work is done. With this, it is much simpler to apply for reimbursements, review and approve these reports as well as tackle dishonest claims.

Well, even though you are almost finished reading this, that employee mentioned at the start of this article, is still struggling to find his bill and the manager isn’t sorted with the stack of receipts yet. Think again, do you want to be one of them? Go paperless and get yourself a digital and hassle free solution.


What The Face of Professional Wrestling Can Teach Us About Getting Out of Debt

f18As I was getting ready for work one morning I watched the Today Show. John Cena, who is a professional wrestler, as well as an actor and rapper, was guest hosting. I am not a follower of professional wrestling but I have seen Mr. Cena in a few movies and if I could describe him in one word, the word would be “chiseled”.

Natalie Morales, one of the regular hosts on Today, mentioned how in shape he appeared and asked him how many hours per day he spent working out. I wish I had recorded his answer because it surprised me. I am paraphrasing Mr. Cena’s response here:

“Watch what you put into your mouth, and do a little bit more physically every day. You will be amazed at how your body will respond. Keep this simple!”

I lost thirty pounds last year by doing this (I counted carbs and calories on my iPhone and walked more). But as I listened to him, it made me think about my last journey with getting out of debt.

In 2010 we had $20,200 in consumer debt, plus our home mortgage. The consumer debt consisted of the balance on a car loan (we purchased the car in 2008 with a five year loan), a department store credit card, an orthodontist bill for our son’s braces and one VISA. My wife and I decided we were tired of these bills and decided to get serious about paying them off. 23 months later, all four consumer debts were paid off. We kept going forward and on August 22, 2014, we paid off our home mortgage!

So how does this relate to John Cena’s advice? Just keep your plan simple and implement the plan!

The first step (after deciding once and for all to get out of debt) is to create a household budget. Just thinking about income and expenses is not enough. The budget gives you the information that you need to be able to have a plan of attack. One of my coaching clients told me he did not want to have a budget because it would force him to acknowledge that he needed to work more hours in order to pay down his debts! A budget will expose the issues causing debt.

Second, do you have an emergency fund? How would you feel if you knew you had money in the bank to use to fix a dead car battery instead of having to charge it on a credit card? A coaching client told me she would “have a huge weight” lifted off of her shoulders if she could have just $600 in savings! The budget she created showed her that she could save $25 every week if her husband would stop buying energy drinks at work (which he agreed to). They also eliminated some other expenses so they could put $300 per month into their emergency fund.

How much should you have in your emergency fund? Whatever amount you believe will make you feel secure in case something unexpected happens. $500? $1000? My wife and I started with $1000.

Third, what order do you want to focus on your debts? Some people want to pay off the account with the highest interest rate first. Others (like my wife and me) choose to pay the smallest balance first. Either plan works. Pay the minimum amounts on every debt except the one you are focused on. That debt gets every dollar possible thrown at it until it is paid off. Then you take that money and add it to the payment on your next debt list.

When the second debt is paid, you roll that money towards the next debt, and so on until they are all paid off. Do not spend the extra money as that kills the plan!

My newest coaching client told me during our introductory session that she was considering bankruptcy because she did not have enough money coming in to pay all of her credit cards. Once she put her budget on paper, she realized that she was making extra payments to all of her credit cards. We worked together to create a plan where she attacks one card and pays minimums on the rest. She had the income but she was not seeing any progress because every card was being worked. With intense focus she will knock out her first bill in just two months and generate the momentum needed to kill all of her debt!


Why You Should Use a Debt Coach to Get Out Of Debt

f17Have you tried to lose weight before? What methods did you try? Most people “go on a diet”. They count their calories and limit their sugar and fat intake. Some people swear by eating all fats and no carbohydrates, others go heavy on protein. There are as many diets out there as there are people on them! And 95% fail to keep the weight off according to major studies.

Others hit the gym to lift weights and get some cardio work in. A New Year’s resolution to get in shape and lose weight. Yet by now, most everyone who made that resolution has stopped. Lines at exercise machines are three deep on January 10th and the machines are empty on February 10th!

A study was funded by the National Institutes of Health in 2012 which compared the weight loss results of people who used a health coach versus people who did not. The people who worked with a health coach lost more weight than those who did not work with a coach.

What do you think? Have you found it to be easier to get to the gym because you were paying for a trainer? Easier to stay on a diet when you used a calorie counter app on your smart phone?

The interesting part of the story was what a health coach was defined as. A health coach did more than just tell the client to exercise more and eat less. The coaches taught principles of behavior modification to help their clients stay on track towards their goals. They helped their clients bust through psychological barriers so these weight changes would remain permanent.

Let’s change the topic from weight loss to getting out of debt. Have you tried to go “cold turkey” on your spending? Live life with a “gazelle intensity”? How long did you last before it became too tough and you just gave up?

Getting out of debt is just like losing weight. There are thousands of books out there and dozens of courses that all have “the secret”. But there are no secrets. Weight loss occurs when you consume fewer calories than your burn. And you get out of debt when you spend less money than you earn.

Just like losing weight, a debt coach can help you to become debt free. A debt coach not only knows how to help you create a budget (which is probably 20% of the issue), but he also knows how to help you change your beliefs about yourself to help you stay on track when life gets tough.

Your self identity will support your plan or sabotage your plan. A debt coach will help you to develop a saver’s identity.

Your values about money will result in your choices to save money or spend it. A debt coach will help you to develop values that encourage you to choose to save some money and not spend it all.

You will face obstacles from your outside world and from inside your head. A debt coach will help you to fight through these obstacles, especially through the use of accountability. When you know your debt coach will ask if you made that $100 credit card payment like you planned, it makes it easier for you to not spend $50 of it at dinner.

If your health coach was obese, would you follow his advice? Heck no! You want a health coach who is in shape; an authority in being healthy. Likewise your debt coach needs to be someone who is 100% debt free, including having his mortgage paid off. You want help from someone who has “walked the walk”, not just “talks the talk”.